9 days Guilin and Guizhou minority tour with Li River cruise
Step into Guilin city, where your journey to explore several Chinese ethnic minorities will begin. After a short sightseeing in Guilin, which is famous for rivers and hills; travel by bicycle through Yangshuo. Mixed with countryside home visits, learn about the custom and culture of Zhuang, Yao, Dong and Miao. Four well know Chinese minorities, which will be unveiled and explained for your coming.
Your local guide and driver will meet you upon your arrival in Guilin. They will help you reach your hotel. Once checked in you can rest up or explore the neighborhood with your guides help or on your own.
Start your trip with a relaxing 4 hour cruise along the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. This section winds through what is considered the most beautiful section of the river, so have your cameras ready. While you may think 4 hours is a short time, it covers all the highlights of the from beautiful waters to the majestic mountains.
After docking in Yangshuo, enjoy lunch before heading in to the countryside for an peaceful bicycle ride. A perfect chance to slowly explore, you and your guide will stop to visit and learn from local farmer's about their life and habits. Try their tasty home-made foods, and feel the real life of Chinese peasants. Overnight at Yangshuo.
Leisurely wake up and choose to explore Yangshuo on your own or with your guide. When ready depart for the 1.5 drive back to Guilin. Upon your return spend the rest of the day exploring many geological wonders of Guilin.
The first attraction is Reed Flute Cave, a natural limestone cave that was formed over 180 millions years ago and filled with spectacular and rocks of different shapes. The second stop is the internationally known symbol of Guilin City or Elephant Trunk Hill. This natural rock formation is visited by countless travelers each year so they can view the life-like elephant drinking water from the river.
The last natural wonder of the day is Fubo Hill. Depending on the rivers water lever this stone pillar of a hill can appear floating like a cloud on the river. During the dry seasons it is less noticeable but no matter when the view from the summit is a breathtaking way to see all of Guilin.
Your last stop of the day will be a Pearl Culture Shop. Here you will have a brief view of the process on how pearl's are harvested and polished. You can choose to buy some pearl for your friends as souvenir or keep them all for yourself. Overnight at Guilin.
Two and a half hours drive from Guilin is beautiful Longsheng, home to some of the most spectacular terraced rice patties in all of China. The highlight and perhaps most famous of all is Longji Rice Terrace which translates into the "Dragon's Backbone". When you stand on the top of the dragon and look down on the fields below you can clearly see the dragon's backbone twisting off into the distance. An image not soon to be forgotten and a testament to the Chinese farmer.
From nature to culture as you head from Longsheng into Pingan Village. Pingan is home of Zhuang Minority and still keep their traditional dress and language to this day. You will find that the Zhuang people are very different from Han Chinese. Spending the night in Pingan Village is a high point of the trip and provides opportunity to learn and talk with locals in a more relaxed environment.
A two hour drive is not what most people want to do when they start their day, but this transfer from Longsheng to Sanjing is full of great scenery and in a private car, you can stop whenever you want for photos.
Once reaching the Dong Autonomous County in Northern Guangxi Province, you will visit Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge. This unique foot bridge is a combination of several Chinese architectural elements all fused into one. It is traditionally explained as painting, bridge, corridor, veranda, and Chinese pavilion, all in one; confused yet? It is unique!
New by Chinese standards having only been built in 1916. Made of stone, wood and tile, a great sample of old-fashioned construction in old China.
Next head to the Mapang Drum Tower, of all the remaining drum towers of the Dong People this maintains the highest importance. It is located within the countryside near its name sake Mapang Village. Sadly the original Mapang Drum Tower built during the Qing Dynasty has been damaged but due to its' importance has been rebuilt, most recently in 1943.
In the afternoon, drive about 3.5 hours to Zhaoxing. Here you will visit the Tang'an Dong Village, located about 6 km. (4 mi.) east of Zhaoxing, which was completed during the Qing Dynasty. It is different from the other Dong Villages you will have experienced so far. The difference will be highlighted by your guide but perhaps better seen with your own eyes from an aerial view showing the different roof shapes as each structure is different. Overnight at Zhaoxing.
Visit one of the oldest villages in Guizhou to start your day off. Zhaoxing Dong Village, is not only one of the oldest but also one of the largest villages. As an important Dong Village, it supports more 800 households and over 4,000 inhabitants. Residents here still practice their ancestors traditional culture by living in transitional house, wearing home-made clothes along with singing and dancing just as their parents' parents have done for centuries.
After the visiting of Dong Village, drive about 1.5 hours to Congjiang, where you will visit the Basha Miao Minority Village. The Basha Miao Village keeps the full style of Miao culture that flourished during the Ming or Qing Dynasties. A stop here will help transport you back a few hundred years into a time and place that once was.
When ready you will set off for an 2 hours to Rongjiang, where you will overnight.
Travel to Dali Dong People's village after breakfast which is 23 km. (14 mi.) from Rongjiang. Here you will notice the Dong drum tower rising majestically out of a sea of tiled roofs below in the valley. You cannot take enough photos to record this unique piece of scenery.
After, your will arrive at Leishan comfortably traveling for about 2 hours in your private car. Once settled you will view two interesting and contrasting Villages. The first being - Datang Short Skirt Village and the second Langde Long Skirt Village. Just as the names imply, women and girls wear mini-skirt in Datang Village all around the years and long skirt in Langde Village all the seasons. Both villages are part of the Miao Minority group. All their clothing is extremely beautiful and attractive.
When ready to depart you will continue about 2 hours to reach Kaili where you will rest for the night.
Kaili is the capital city of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. In the morning, you will visit the Shiqiao Miao Village and learn the traditional way of making paper. Kaili is the largest paper-making site within China. They have the most complete and traditional paper-making process. All the steps are well preserved and allow you to learn about a technology that helped change the entire world
After concluding your time at the paper making, you will visit a village full of tradition where roads are still made from bluestone, home are on wooden stilts and the Miao Minority Group residents dress in their traditional clothing with pure silver headdresses. The name, for those keeping track is the Qingman Long Skirt Miao Minority Village, it is filled with hundreds of years' history, just waiting for your arrival.
The next stop is far from the Miao Villages as you head into Guiyang. The capital city of Guizhou Province. Reflect on the past weeks experiences and observations with your guide and ask questions, to help ensure you have captured all you desire. Your friends and family will want to hear all the details.
Perhaps a banquet is in order, your guide and drive can easily help arrange this in hustle and bustle of Guiyang. Retire for the night in a comfortable hotel.
Today your guide and driver will drive you safely to Guiyang Airport for departure. If you plan to visit another city in China, WindhorseTour is experts in China multi city trips and here to help, no obligation and never any pressure.